Calluses are hardened areas of the outermost layer of the skin, occurring when the skin tries to protect itself from pressure and friction. This mostly occurs on the hands and toes, especially those regions where the skin is more prone to friction.
Corns are smaller than calluses. They have a solid, hard center surrounded by inflamed skin. Painfull when pressed, corns tend to develop on parts of the non weight bearing feet like the tops and sides of the toes and even between your toes. Corns can also be found in weight-bearing areas of the feet. Corns can be painful when pressed.
Calluses are rarely painful. Usually, they develop on the soles of the feet, especially under the heels or balls, on the palms, or on your knees. Calluses are larger than corns.
What are the causes of a Callus?
Repetitive pressure and friction on a specific skin area leads to the occurrence and growth of calluses and corns. Some of the common sources of friction and pressure include –
● Avoiding socks with sandals and shoes can increase the friction of the footwear with your feet. Also, if you wear ill-fitting socks, it can lead to calluses.
● Calluses on the hands are usually a result of using hand tools, continuous writing, and repeated pressure from playing musical instruments.
● Wearing high heels and tight-fitting shoes can put pressure on your feet. If your footwear is loose, it can cause your feet to repeatedly rub against any stitch or seam inside it, leading to calluses.
What are the symptoms of a Callus?
● You can identify corn or a callus from the following symptoms –
● A hardened and raised bump.
● Waxy, dry, or flaky skin.
● A rough and thick skin area.
● Pain and tenderness under the skin.
What are the risk factors associated with a Callus?
Certain factors may increase the risk of occurrence or recurrence of calluses. These include –
Hammertoe is a deformity in which the toe gets curled up like a claw.
A bunion is a bony and abnormal bump that occurs on the joint at the base of the big toe.
Foot deformities such as a bone spur can lead to constant rubbing of the skin inside your footwear leading to a callus.
Using hand tools and instruments without proper protective covering can expose your skin to constant friction and pressure, increasing the risk of a callus.
What are the treatments available for treating a Callus?
● Some home remedies and lifestyle changes can cure a callus or corn. You can try the following –
● Use over-the-counter pads or liquid corn removers on the affected area.
● Soak your feet and hands in warm and soapy water. This helps in softening the skin, making it easier to remove the callus or corn.
● Rub a callus or corn with a washcloth, emery board, nail file, or pumice stone to remove the layer of thickened skin.
● Apply moisturizer on the skin to keep it soft.
● Wear well-fitted, cushioned, and comfortable socks and shoes to minimize the possibility of any corn or callus .
While most corns and calluses gradually disappear with the reduction in pressure or friction to the affected area, if it does not get cured on its own, you need to consult a healthcare expert. Stubborn corn and callus can’t be treated at home and should be treated by healthcare experts. The doctor will examine the affected area to rule out the possibility of any hardened skin conditions such as cysts and warts.
Some of the commonly used medical treatments include –
The doctor can scrape off the thickened skin or trim the callus with a scalpel. This can only be performed at the doctor’s chamber and should not be tried on your own to avoid possible infection.
Your doctor may advise you to apply a patch on the skin that contains 40% salicylic acid. He/she may also recommend using a nail file, emery board, or a pumice stone to smooth out the dead skin. You can also use prescription salicylic acid available in gel form for applying on larger areas.
In case of any underlying foot deformity, your doctor may prescribe orthopedic shoe inserts to prevent the recurrence of calluses and corns in the foot.
In rare cases such as a plantar callus, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the alignment of the bone causing friction or pressure.
What are the necessary precautionary measures to avoid a Callus?
Following certain preventive measures can help you to prevent the growth of corns and calluses.
Wear non-medicated corn pads, bandages, and felt pads over the areas of your skin that are prone to friction. You can also use some lamb’s wool or a toe separator between your toes.
While wearing a shoe, you must be able to wiggle your toes. Or you can get it stretched from a shoe shop to avoid friction and pressure on your feet.
Wear gloves or cover your tool handles with covers or cloth tapes while using them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
● How do you treat calluses?
The first and foremost thing is to avoid the friction and pressure that has caused the callus. Some of the at-home remedies include using protective padding on the affected area, wearing properly fitted shoes, moisturizing the skin, and soaking the hands and feet in warm water.
The medical treatment options include trimming away the thickened skin by the doctor, taking callus removal medications, using orthopedic shoe inserts, or surgery in rare instances.
● What does a callus look like?
Calluses vary in shapes and sizes and are usually larger than corns. These are yellowish and pale in color and are lumpy to touch and can occur at the soles of your feet, knees, heels, or palms.
● What is a callus on feet called ?
While calluses have several variants, they commonly occur in areas where there has been a lot of rubbing and pressure . A callus occurring on the bottom of the feet is known as a plantar callus.
● Is it good to remove foot calluses?
A healthcare expert can remove a foot callus by paring down the thickened skin with a scalpel. But you should not try this on your own as it might lead to infection.
● How does a podiatrist remove a callus?
If your podiatrist thinks that your callus is due to your abnormal walking motion, hip rotation, or foot structure, he/she may advise wearing orthotics. In rare instances, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to correct the bone alignment causing friction.